I remember when I first read a little orange book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz I felt amazed by the simple but powerful truth of the 4 core principles he wrote about. Truly, if all of us could agree to live by these 4 simple principles we would indeed experience greater peace in our bodies, minds and relationships. I've also realized over the years it is very easy to forget these principles so it can be helpful to come back to these four things again and again.
#1 Be impeccable with your word
Realize the power of your words. Think carefully before you speak and only say what you really intend to say. Choose your words with great care. Be cautious not to use your words to gossip or hurt others simply because you are feeling angry or frustrated. Allow your words to come from love and compassion for yourself and others.
#2 Don't take ANYTHING personally!
This can be a tricky one because when someone attacks us it can feel very personal. Ruiz explains, however, that when others do or say things that are hurtful toward you it has everything to do with where they are, what they are feeling and what they need and nothing to do with you in actuality. Sometimes there can be a bit of truth buried in the hurtful criticism or attack that is information we can accept and receive to help us grow, expand and evolve but we must release the rest and not let it soak in.
#3 Never assume
Don't make assumptions as to what others are thinking or feeling. This often gets you into a whole lot of trouble because before you know it you've jumped to conclusions and created a whole story that is not at all reality. Ruiz teaches that we must make inquiry. If someone says or does something and we are not certain what they meant, we should respectfully ask for clarity. Express what you want and need and ask others what they want and need. This principle can save so much heartache and conflict.
#4 Always do your best
What is your best? Your best shifts and moves and changes moment to moment depending on your health, your intentions, your energy level, your stress levels. Your best does not mean perfection. In every given moment simply do the best you can and accept your best in each moment.
Now, it's your turn... Share in the comments below which of these agreements is most challenging or how which of these agreements you will commit to cultivating and practicing this week!
I have several clients over the age of 50 who have expressed to me there is a big difference in the life challenges of women age 45 who still have younger children and women over 50 whose children have left the nest and who are experiencing life post-menopause.
I must agree.
Having just turned 49 myself, being well past menopause (as a result of necessary surgery at age 44) and seeing 2 of my kids living on their own independently, I can see that the challenges we face at this stage are different than my 45 year old friend who gave birth to twins two years ago.
So, this got me thinking... You don't need to feel like you're out in the desert all by yourself...
I truly believe when women get to the stage in life when the really BIG changes have set in it's time for some live, face-to-face group support with other women who really get it. A group where women can feel safe in expressing themselves openly and honestly and gain some practical tools for living life fully after the age of 50.
I truly love supporting women with holistic lifestyle coaching through video-conferencing and over the phone but there is something particularly impactful about gathering face-to-face, in person to feel the connection with other women. In olden days, women gathered together to sew or do the wash. When we were younger women, we gathered with our young children for play groups, Bunko or book club. As we move into the second half of life it is all too common to lose this camraderie.
Beginning in February 2016 I will be hosting two live, face-to-face support groups for women in mid-life here at the brick-n-mortar location of Wonders Wellness Center. It will be 8 weeks of group sessions with a choice between a morning time or an evening time. I am asking for $125 non-refundable deposit to commit to the group's formation and a balance of $125 at the first meeting (if you have financial concerns certainly speak with me privately for personalized arrangements).
Meetings will be either Tuesdays February 2-March 22 6:00 to 7:15 pm OR Thursdays February 4-March 24 10:00 to 11:15 am.
Care to join me? Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Midlife Support in the subject line and let's connect.
You're a woman over 40. You've seen a few holiday seasons. You might even be wired to expect the usual over-indulgence, lack of sleep, stressful schedules, a long list of things that have to get done and a calendar that is over-booked.
But what if this year could be different?
I'm dreaming of a nice, easy holiday season... Are you with me?
I've come up with 10 tips to help women over 40 work in that direction. Who says you can't have healthy holidays?
- Politely bail out. Do you really have to go to all of those parties, gatherings, galas on your calendar? Go through your calendar and mindfully consider that there are many events and obligations that you are not actually obligated to attend. Aim to slash at least a third off the list. Send a warm, polite message to the hosts and let them know you have a very important person who has shown up really needing your time and attention that night. (It's not a lie! YOU are that very important person who desperately needs some peace and quiet).
- Hire a teenager to decorate, wrap and bake for you. This year I hired a very reliable, creative, dependable 16 year old girl (cough, cough... it was my daughter! Hey - she got to make some money and I bought myself time and energy!) to decorate the tree, the house, to bake holiday items for our neighbors and to help get all the gifts wrapped. This allowed me a chance to get in more yoga, more exercise time AND it kept me from tasting those baked items that are not on my healthy eating plan.
- Walk on. Walk off. I can't rave enough about how two super-brisk walks every day is keeping me on track. It gives me time to get my lungs and heart pumping while my brain is able to work through some solutions to challenges and my spirit gets to connect with Nature. You will feel so much more ALIVE if you adopt this practice into your life. Just 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes in the late afternoon does WONDERS.
- Breathe breaks. Remember in the old days how people used to take a coffee break or go outside to have a smoke? While ditching the unhealthy habits we lost the mental and emotional break from work by not taking those breaks. I recommend a 3 minute breathing break every hour during your work day or even if you're running errands. Stop what you're doing. Close your eyes and take some nice, slow, deep breaths.
- Eat at home. I am the first one to admit I'm a foodie. I love to try new restaurants and I love to sample the seasonal fares at our favorite places. But I've noticed since committing to prepare our meals and eat at home there are a few wonderful benefits. My husband and I cook together and it's a great bonding time. We turn on some tunes and enjoy chopping and prepping delicious, healthy whole-food meals together. We eat healthier when we eat at home. We also save so much money this way.
- Keep your bedtime routine intact. It's all too easy to have the regular routine completely derailed during the holidays. You need your sleep. Over 40 it's all the more important for our circadian rhythms to stay intact. Go to bed at the same time and set an alarm so you wake up at the same time. That beauty rest we heard about growing up is a real thing. To feel alive and well, for our metabolism to do its job, we need our sleep.
- Sing some holiday songs to lower your stress. Yep. According to Stacy Horn, author of Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, "Singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits." Who knew?
- Aromatherapy for everyone. There is a reason we naturally love all those holiday scents. Peppermint is uplifting and invigorating. White fir is grounding and calming. Cinnamon and clove are warming. And if you can get these scents in the form of essential oils you get the benefit of boosting your body's immune system and helping fight off viruses, bacteria and other unwanted microbrial creatures. Invest in some quality essential oils and a good diffuser and keep your house and office smellling holiday fresh for all round good health.
- Hang out under the mistletoe. Hugs and kisses go along way in keeping us feeling connected. Research shows that loving physical affection is good for mental and physical well-being.
- Don't forget to relax regularly. Once you've created some white space in your schedule after politely bailing out and hiring a teen for the holiday tasks, don't fill up this time with other things to do. Use this time to RELAX. Take a soaking bath with epsom salts. Go to a restorative yoga class. Sit down and meditate. Curl up with a low key movie and a cup of chamomile tea.
Nothing like cozying up with a hot cup of fragrant herbal tea when the temps get chilly.
This is a guide to some fantastic organic herbal teas to stock up on for the holidays. They come in beautiful packages and make great gifts as well! (As with all herbs, it's important to first check with your health care practitioner to make sure that there are no potential interactions with medications).
This blend is a the ideal way to start the day! Who needs coffee? The blend of Organic Nettle leaf, organic and fair trade Green Rooibos Tea, and organic Rose Petals has all the kick you need without the caffeine. The floral taste blends with a green herbal finish and the aroma is rosy and herbaceous. You brew and allow it to steep for just 3-4 minutes yielding a beautiful golden amber color. Order Dawn Chorus Tea HERE
This herbal blend helps many of my clients and friends over 40 to cool and soothe those hot flashes that come along with menopause. It is truly tasty with an all organic blend of Motherwort herb, Chickweed, Sage, Dandelion leaf, Elder flowers, Oatstraw and Violet leaf. Buy Flashes Tea HERE
You need not be a romantic to appreciate the effects of this heart opening and warming herbal tea blend. An all organic floral combination of Rose petals, Damiana leaf, roasted Cacao nibs, Orange peel, Cinnamon and Vanilla, the flavor of this tea is wonderfully warm and just LOVE-ly! Order Love Tea HERE
Do you ever walk in a room and completely forget what you went looking for? Forget where you put your keys? Blank out on the name of your neighbor? It happens! This tea might just help improve memory! It has bright, refreshing flavor and a soothing aroma. After steeping for 4-5 minutes it will have a lovely yellow hue. This all organic blend is made from herbs known to promote brain health: Ginko, Gotu Kola, Peppermint, Rosemary, Red Clover, Ginger and Stevia. Get your Memory Zest tea HERE
This all organic blend is stress-busting as well as warming with a spicy, festive combination of Cinnamon bark, Eleuthero Root, Dandelion, Astragalus, Ginger, Clove, Cardomom and Chicory roots. It's a bold flavor perfect for sipping while catching up with relatives and friends over the holidays. Warm up with Winter Spice Tea HERE
A daily herbal tea option to help keep your mood, hormones and outlook in balance, this organic herbal blend provides a lightly floral and beautifully fragrant treat containing Peppermint, Nettle, Dandelion and Raspberry leaves plus Horsetail, Ginger, along with Rose and Chamomile flowers. Order Women's Balancing Tea HERE
Along with these loose teas you might want to order some tea-brewing items to make your tea time an easy and wonderful daily ritual. Take a look at what Mountain Herb Company has to offer HERE.
*The information in this article is not intended to cure or treat disease, illness or disorder. Please always seek guidance from your healthcare practitioner before consuming any herbal supplements in the case there may be interactions with medications you are taking.
I proudly partner with Mountain Rose Herb Company as an affiliate partner because I use their products and know them to the highest quality and integrity products on the market. If you should choose to purchase any of these products using the links in this article, I will receive a percentage payment and utilize these funds to provide free and helpful content to the Wonders Wellness community.
As a practitioner and teacher of yoga for many years, I know first hand how important alignment in the body is to our holistic health. But there is much more to the story and my colleague Lisa Wolfe has brought light to some very interesting information that is bringing more positive change to my body and life.
According to Lisa Wolfe, of The Posture Program, when our body's posture is hunched over, head down for long periods of times or even just as a matter of habit, our brain likely gets the message that we are in danger or something is very wrong. The brain coordinates with the endocrine system to secrete hormones that tell the body to prepare for emergency or a long, cold, hungry winter. In contrast, when the muscles in the body are trained to work together to maintain optimum posture most of the time, the brain likely gets the message that all is well and all the hormones in our body tend to line up into balance. The result of open, upright, healthy posture may very well contribute to a more peaceful and joyful mood, less stress response, a more efficient metabolism and many other benefits.
Lisa has an amazing gift of explaining WHY it's so important to have healthy posture and exactly HOW to go about cultivating it and she provides this in her video program I highly recommend.
Lisa is a real woman over 40 just like you and me. She has quite a story. She is a functional movement specialist, and shares that she formerly was an overweight, out-of-shape, not-so-cheerful woman.
In 2006, after years of physical therapy and ineffective dieting, Lisa used functional movement to reshape her body and release 70 pounds of fat.
That's worth a pause....
Lisa says that her hormones regulated in response to improved body positioning and fascial health. Lisa used this method with her clients for five years, and responded to repeated pleas to put her Posture Workshop on video. You can check it out HERE.
But what is functional movement and how can it help the body and mind become healthier?
The Mayo Clinic defines functional movement as specific exercises that train your muscles to work together - like a team - that fit into your daily tasks. These exercises simulate common movements. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.
Additionally, Lisa emphasizes the importance of fascia health and how to ensure you have it.
What is fascia?
Fascia is a a sheet of connective tissue that wraps around all your organs, providing support and basically holding all your parts together. It looks like a web, connecting muscle and organs. When fascia is healthy it's very flexible but when the body doesn't move enough or there is trauma of injury, the fascia can become stiff and tense which - like shrink wrap - will prevent the muscles from being able to move optimally.
Lisa talks a lot in her The Posture Program about the importance of cultivating and maintaining healthy fascia. It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? You don't want tight, stiff fascia shrink-wrapping around your muscles and organs!
In order to have that healthy posture mentioned above, the fascia must be healthy. So... what to do about it?
This is where Lisa Wolfe comes in. She's one of the best teachers I've ever encountered. She has a true talent for explaining exactly what you need to do and what you need to do with fantastic videos demonstrating easily practiced exercises on a regular basis. This course is beneficial for all ages but especially for women over the age of 40.
Do yourself a favor and check out The Posture Program. It has changed the way I move my body every day and I'm already seeing amazing results.
I am so impressed with Lisa's program I asked her if I could partner with her as an affiliate to help spread the word! If you should decide to purchase The Posture Program through the links provided in this article I will receive a share in the proceeds!
Yesterday I had a private consultation with Dr. Robert Goldman of Georgia Hormones, PC - a holistic medical practice dedicated to the evaluation and regulation of women's hormones specifically helpful to women in mid-life.
I had gone in a couple of weeks ago and had lots of blood drawn and tests run to see what might be going on in my body four years after my full hysterectomy and subsequent issues I've been having.
I also considered this part of my very dedicated and serious research into women's health and well-being over 40.
My personal results and issues aside, there was a lot of information I gained that I want to pass along to you. I'm going to be writing a lot of blogs about all I am learning with Dr. Goldman. Today's blog is going to be a shocker for many reading this.
Dr. Goldman explained that juicing and blending fruits, veggies and protein powders may very well be contributing to WEIGHT GAIN rather than health and weight loss. I was shocked.
According to Dr. Goldman, when we blend our nutrition (or - apparently worse - juice our produce) and drink it we are bypassing the very important first stop of digestion in the mouth which involves enzymes secreted there. Enzymes needed to begin the digestion process are only secreted in the mouth when we CHEW our food.
Dr. Goldman explained that the only liquid mammals are really intended to drink is our mother's milk when we are infants and then water. H2O only.
He went on to explain that if we consume a liquid form of our veggies and fruits with no chewing, not only do we miss out on the enzymes in the mouth but we also skip the part where the brain is signaled by the chewing to alert the stomach to start producing enzyme activity in preparation for the food that's headed that way.
So, according to this new information (new to me and probably to you) when we drink juices and smoothies it runs through to the intestines and the intestines doesn't know what do do with it other than pull out the glucose (sugar) for energy and allow any fiber that might be there to move on through to elimination.
What does this have to do with gaining weight?
For women over 40 in particular, too much glucose in the body translates to fat storage. As we age - unless you are a marathon runner - we tend to slow down. Our bodies are not moving as much. Our metabolism is more sluggish. We simply can't metabolize sugars the way we did as kids.
I've been juicing and blending for 15 years! And honestly I don't think we have to throw the baby out with this bathwater.
Juicing GREEN VEGETABLES without the fruits can still be a way of infusing the body with a lot of oxygenating benefits of chlorophyll and other helpful vitamins and minerals. It won't taste as good but we're not doing this for the taste.
Blending greens with an apple skin and all in your Vitamix with a scoop of pea protein powder or brown rice protein can still be a very health breakfast option. BUT... here's the helpful additional info for you: CHEW YOUR SMOOTHIE.
Yes. You read that right. CHEW YOUR SMOOTHIE.
Make sure your smoothie is chock-full of fibrous greens and high fiber apple skin and all (or a handful of blue berries). Take time to taste and move your smoothie around in your mouth and observe a chewing motion. Give your mouth and brain and stomach a chance to start producing the needed enzymes to digest your nutrients.
You also might consider adding in a high quality digestive enzyme just before consuming your smoothie and all your meals. Consult your holistic health care practitioner for guidance on enzyme therapy.
None of the information or statements in this article are intended to treat or cure disease or disorder of any kind. You should always consult with your own licensed health care practitioner for advice on medical and health related information.
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